Weight Management

What time is it?

Nutrition specialists have long advised against late night eating.

While weight management IS just a mathematical equation – calorie intake versus calorie output – there are many complicating factors.

Among those factors:

  • poor late night food choices – we’re not eating our steel cut oatmeal at midnight
  • not allowing the body to “fast” before the morning meal – it is called breakFAST
  • disrupted sleep – adequate sleep helps our hormones which, in turn, help regulate satiety and hunger
  • calories are needed when they are used – during the day!

Many nutrition-related studies came out of last week’s American Heart Association’s meeting. One of which was a study of Hispanic and Latino Americans. This Columbia U study showed that high blood pressure and pre-diabetes were most common in people eating 30% of their calories after 6 PM. (I’m not certain if this was before the time change, but you get the drift.) Late night eating is a problem.

This study did NOT look at obesity, but we know the incidence and the degree of obesity has been on the rise for the last couple decades. What has changed? One of many changes is certainly the availability of food 24/7. In the old days (yes, I just said that), there were distinct mealtimes with a “fast” between dinner and breakfast.

Today, that doesn’t occur. In fact, for those of you following diet trends, intermittent fasting seems popular and “effective”. We need to allow the body to digest and metabolize our food. When we said “snacking” every few hours was healthy, we didn’t mean a full meal’s worth of calories every few hours was healthy.

Let’s slow down. Eat the earliest dinner as reasonable. Fast during the night and eat a nutritious breakfast. The old adage: eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like Prince William – was probably more helpful than most nutrition advice to be well.





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Super size?

Super SizeDoes it look to you like we Americans have been super sized into a super size?

The term “globesity” is being used with greater frequency as body weight climbs throughout the world –  a well documented phenomenon. As economic status improves, food availability increases, food costs drop, energy output declines; in other words, people eat more and move less.

But in the US, that first wave of readily available, cheap food is decades old. Why do we keep getting bigger? Could it be that we’ve super sized EVERYTHING! Our soda servings, wine glasses, dinner plates…

Recall Morgan Spurlock the Super Size Me documentarian who blamed his ill health on the fast food he ate for 30 days – a damaged liver was chief among his complaints. Apparently, there will be no sequel to Super Size Me as Mr. Spurlock, in a 2017 BBC online article confessional said, “Is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years.” 

So, how did that fast food affect his liver again?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to blame fast food on our growing waistlines. I think the blame goes to our portions. In an academic counterpoint to Super Size Me, Dr. James Painter, Eastern Illinois University, enlisted two grad students who ate fast food for 30 days in the portions correct for their size. They lost weight, lowered (!) their blood cholesterol levels and their livers remained healthy. So PORTIONS matter.

While I’m not endorsing a fast food diet or eating exclusively at restaurants, I don’t believe that’s the cause of the US obesity epidemic. Restaurants do typically serve more than twice what an adult requires (with respect to calories) but it’s up to us to portion size that plate. Share it with someone else or share it with yourself the next day.

Control your portions to be well,


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